I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to squeeze as much as I can into this summer of strangeness. Last weekend I went on my second trail ride with the Piedmont Heritage Area (formerly the Mosby Heritage Area but we all know how out of control political correctness is these days).

author jessica james at welbourneThanks to cloud cover and even a light rain at times, it wasn’t as hot as the first ride — but it was every bit as fun and educational! The ride started at the iconic Welbourne Inn, which I had the pleasure of staying in a few years ago.

Welbourne was the home of Col. Richard Henry Dulany, C.S.A., the great-great-grandfather of the current innkeeper, and is now both a Bed and Breakfast and a working farm that cares for retired horses. Visitors to this house during the Civil War included Jeb Stuart and John S. Mosby!

author jessica james rides across goose creek bridgeJust visiting this magnificent home again would have been enough to make my day, but the trail ride also took us across the historic Goose Creek Stone Bridge. Built about 1810, the 200-foot-long stone arch bridge spans Goose Creek in four arches. The bridge was a center of fighting on June 21, 1863, during the Battle of Upperville, preceding the Battle of Gettysburg.

Just imaging the fighting that went on that day was an amazing experience. Goose Creek Bridge is the largest stone turnpike bridge in northern Virginia, designed to carry the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike across the creek. The turnpike was replaced by Route 50, and is no longer used for vehicular traffic.

Civil War history in northern Virginia is everywhere — and so are horses! I ran into a foxhunt on my way to Welbourne in the morning, and had to stop for horses and hounds. The traditions and customs are like no place else in the world, making it easy to get transported back in time.

historical fiction author jessica james

Photo at right is of the trail ride through history that started in Aldie, Va.



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